While most Hoosiers were coping with the season's first snowstorm last week, several Republican state officials were in sunny Arizona, where they played major roles in the American Legislative Exchange Council's national meeting. State schools chief Tony Bennett was the keynote speaker; state Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis, is the newly installed chairman of ALEC's national board of directors.
Occupy Phoenix protesters picketed the event. It probably goes without noting that they were pepper sprayed by police, according to a Phoenix TV news report.
Bloomberg Businessweek has a lengthy and informative article on the shadowy ALEC, published Thursday, "Pssst ... Wanna Buy a Law?"
John Nichols penned "ALEC Exposed" for the August issue of The Nation.
"ALEC is a critical arm of the right-wing network of policy shops that, with infusions of corporate cash, has evolved to shape American politics," he wrote. "Inspired by Milton Friedman's call for conservatives to develop alternatives to existing policies
Much of that education legislation was approved in Indiana, of course, which is why Tony Bennett likely earned the spot as keynoter for this year's confab. Check out the similarities in the ALEC model charter board legislation and House Enrolled Act 1002, the charter school law that establishes a state-level board to approve charter schools.
When GOP lawmakers roll out their 2012 legislation, we'll get a look at what ALEC and its corporate sponsors have in store for us next year.